Interesting facts about the outboard motor

One of the most common propulsion systems designed for smaller craft is the outboard motor. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this propulsion device is that it not only provides the power that propels a watercraft forward, but also acts as a steering device. It’s easy to say that an outboard motor is a fine combination of the engine, gearbox and propeller, all well rolled into one system.

When the engine is not running, the skeg acts as a rudder to steer the boat. Another thing I really like about outboard motors is that they are quite easy to repair or maybe put away because of their portability. Actually, another cool feature of the outboard is that it can tilt up while cruising through shallow water, allowing you to dodge rocks or seaweed buildup. Being able to flip the outboard up is also helpful when moving a boat with a trailer.

What kind of outboard motor should you use?

There are different types of outboard motors for different types of applications. You must match the outboard motor power to the weight of the boat and the load it is carrying. For example, Big Outboards can generate up to 350 horsepower – enough power to propel a boat 5.5 meters or more.

The small portable outboard motors have about 15 horsepower and can be easily attached to boats with clamps. If you include the gas tank, the smallest outboard motors weigh just about 12 kilos. But don’t belittle this little outboard motor. You can sail around eight knots or ten mph if you ride a small boat and a small portable outboard motor.

Determining the power requirements of an outboard motor starts with determining the amount of load that will be driven.

The birth of outboard motors

Cameron Waterman was still a young student at Yale Engineering when he started working on the outboard motor. His hard work paid off, as his four-stroke outboard turned out to be the first commercially viable gas-powered outboard. The period between 1903 and when his patent was released in 1905 when Cameron Waterman probably created the outboard motor.

Full production of Cameron Waterman’s machines began in 1907 with only twenty-four machines being built that year and over time thousands of machines within 5 years. Time passed and Kiekhaefer decided to buy Waterman’s shares in the company that was the first to produce outboard motors.

Although Mr. Waterman was a four-stroke engine, two-stroke outboards proved to be much more popular, mainly because they were uncomplicated in design, more reliable, less expensive to make and light in weight. The two-stroke outboard engines, as popular as they were, made a lot of noise and air pollution, mainly due to the unburnt gas. Over time, the United States and some European authorities took some actions that led to more four-stroke outboards being produced.

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Which you probably didn’t know

Ole Evinrude, a Norwegian-American inventor, is often mistakenly credited as the designer of the earliest working and marketable outboard motors. He has built and sold thousands of outboard motors, but it was in the year 1909 that he started manufacturing outboard motors – two years later than Waterman.

Four-stroke outboard engines have been on the market for over a century.

Fuel economy is vastly improved by direct injection on both four-stroke and two-stroke outboards. The gasoline saved simply by direct injection can be around eighty percent and 10% is on the low side.